The Maldives due to its geographic formation (low lying, and its population scattered across 198 islands all surrounded by seas) needs a sea transport system within the islands and air transport for regional travel. And as you would expect there are many boats. The most common form of transport among the locals is the very unique “dhoni” built by the local master craftsmen with no sophisticated machinery or modern tools in ancient times.
The traditional dhoni is one of the oldest known sea vessels in the Maldives. Many of these traditional sailing vessels were, built using dried coconut palm timber. The sailing dhoni was used in earlier days by Maldivian fishermen. The islands of the Maldives have an extensive fleet of fishing boats each of which can carry about eight to twelve persons. During the industrial revolution, the Maldives government aided by the Japanese government persuaded local fisherman to use mechanical engines in dhonis in the 1980s’.Today the coconut timber is largely replaced by fiberglass and the whole boat building process is modernized. The main site for building dhonis is on an island called Alifushi in Raa Atoll.
This boat building is a traditional craft in the Maldives, and young apprentices are trained by skilled craftsmen. Boats crafted from timber take 60 days to complete. Contemporary dhonis are often built using fiberglass. Many motorized dhonis are now capable of high speed and come equipped with a steering wheel, fully furnished chairs, tables, and benches.
To cater for the tourism and hospitality industry and the fact the Male International Airport is on an island itself means lots of speed boats. Most of them are owned by resorts to ferry tourists to and from resort islands.
As the hospitality industry grew and more and more resorts being built far away from the Male area the need for faster mode of transport is required. And that’s when the seaplanes were introduced. These little aircraft’s offer a scenic flight and you could be landing in or near your destination in no time in most of the Maldives except the extreme South and North. These regions do have domestic airports and domestic airlines serve them from Male on a daily basis.
On some of the bigger islands, especially capital Male and Addu do have many motorcycles, cars, and scooters, and you can be assured to have very safe and clean taxis should you need to use one.